ORLANDO, Fla. – Ping CEO John Solheim revealed at this week’s PGA Merchandise Show that, sometimes, any publicity really is good publicity.
While introducing Meg Mallon as the new U.S. Solheim Cup captain Thursday, he acknowledged he will always be grateful to Mallon for winging one of his company’s putters into a pond at the 18th hole of Disney World’s Eagle Pines course during the HealthSouth Inaugural 17 years ago.
“It is the most publicity we ever got for one of our putters,” Solheim said.
At the end of a week that included seven three-putts, Mallon was disgusted with her Ping putter at the final hole. She announced to the crowd that it was time to get rid of it.
“So I gave it a really good helicopter into the middle of the pond,” Mallon said.
Golf Channel captured the heave on video, and analyst Donna Caponi broke down Mallon’s club-throwing form in a slow-motion replay. When Mallon walked into the clubhouse, players flashed white sheets of paper with scores like “9.9” and “10.0” on them, as if they were Olympic judges ranking a gymnastics routine.
Mallon isn’t sure what kind of putter it was. Her best guess is that it was a Ping Anser 2. She actually loved the Ping putters and used them almost exclusively in her prime.
Mallon said in a visit to the White House, she asked President Clinton for a presidential pardon.
“There’s nothing wrong with a little Irish temper,” Clinton told Mallon.
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